Birthday Blog (& French-Style Lentils with Halloumi)

HELLO IT IS MY BIRTHDAY. Yes, I have successfully aged an entire year in the space of a day; yesterday I was a year younger, and Science will attest to this. Streamers, balloons and party poppers are all welcome in my home for this ONE DAY, so use that knowledge wisely. Please use the front door, if you’d be so good.

In all seriousness, I have had a splendid day, lunching at Wagamama just across the water from my Alma Mater:

I want to eat gyoza until I pass out, you guys. And I could drink that dipping sauce. Just pour me a row of shots and let’s see how long I can keep going.

(Note to self: while savoury shots may sound like a great recipe post now, you did get two ciders deep at lunch and you’re probably not thinking straight)

I also got some presents for other people (because March is a busy month; summer is a time for loving, apparently), had a salted caramel cookie dough dessert, drank a considerable amount of cider (see above), and looked out across the Brayford like a contented heroine surveying her vast estate. T’was a very fine day.

Now I’m home, and looking for something not-too-heavy to assuage my need for evening sustenance. I’m also desperately thinking of ways to use up all of my cheese. So, in an effort to combine these two needs, I present to you…

French-Style Lentils with Halloumi & Roasted Carrots (Vegetarian, Gluten-free)

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Serves 2-4 (a big evening meal or a lighter lunch)
Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 25 mins

Equipment

One medium saucepan; small frying pan; roasting tin lined with grease-proof paper; knives or really sharp spoons for cutting*; a chopping board, or your late grandmother’s heirloom kitchen table**; a glass of wine to make you feel super French.

Ingredients

  • 400g tin green lentils in water
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar (can sub any similar vinegar you have)
  • 1 fat clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche, double cream, or similar
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 225-250g block halloumi cheese (light or full-fat)
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp oil + a little extra for frying

Method

  1. Get your saucepan on a medium heat with a splash of oil, and turn your oven to 200°C. Prep your carrots first: peel, top and tail them and cut into batons. Put them in your lined roasting tin, add 1tbsp oil, plus a pinch of salt & pepper, and mix everything around with your hands or a spatula to ensure even coverage. Pop into the oven for 20-25 minutes while you deal with everything else.
  2. Finely dice the onion, garlic and thyme leaves. The carrots take the longest time to cook, so you can actually have a glass of wine or something and chill out for about 10 minutes at this point while your pan heats up. Any excuse, I hear you cry – and you’re absolutely right, of course.
  3. Once you’re ready to go, add the onion to the pan and leave to soften for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and the red wine vinegar and stir for a further couple of minutes. Add the lentils (water and all), mustard and salt & pepper, stir to combine, and leave to simmer for 10 minutes, adding a splash of water if they look a little dry.
  4. Get your frying pan on a medium heat with a little more oil for the halloumi (though you can use cooking spray or dry fry if you’re looking for a healthier option). Slice the cheese quite thickly so that you end up with around 6-8 slices – not including the generally scraggy end pieces. Once the oil is hot, add the halloumi to the pan and cook for 5 minutes or so on the first side, flipping once browned to cook for a further 2 minutes on the second side. Set aside.
  5. Add the thyme and double cream/crème fraîche to the lentils and stir through. Serve the lentils in a pasta bowl with the carrots and halloumi on top.

Lovely stuff. Also, I am probably going to be cut into tiny pieces for even alluding to the fact that these lentils are almost, most likely, probably partially inspired by the French. Because the French take their food almost as seriously as I take Harry Potter. Please do not bury me at sea; I am unreasonably terrified of the ocean and ITS MANY SECRETS.

A very Happy Birthday to me *hiccups drunkenly*

Hattie


*I’m joking.

**I’M JOKING.

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